Many seventh-grade students throughout the Arkansas River Valley recently received a newly-required vaccine for a respiratory disease that isn’t new — whooping cough.
Most Russellville parents weren’t concerned about the vaccine, said Jenny Barber, the Russellville School District’s wellness supervisor. Barber said only a few parents called with questions, adding the vaccine helps students from missing valuable classroom instructions.
In March, the state Board of Health updated the list of required vaccinations for students entering the seventh grade.
The TDaP booster shot helps prevent Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough.
Pertussis is defined as a respiratory tract disease that is caused by bacteria found in an infected person’s nose and throat. It’s also known as the 100-day cough because the high-pitched “whooping” cough can persist for 100 days.
Carroll County experienced an outbreak of Pertussis in July, according to a department of health press release. In California, 10 babies died from whooping cough with more than 5,200 people contracting the disease, according to Associated Press reports.
In Arkansas, Pertussis isn’t as widespread, said Dr. James Phillps, branch chief of infectious diseases for the state Board of Health.
Pope County experienced one case of whooping cough in 2007, three in 2008 and 12 in 2009. Johnson County had three cases of whooping cough in 2009 with none in 2007 and 2008. Yell County had three cases in 2008 and four cases in 2009. Yell County didn’t experience any cases in 2007. So far, no cases have been reported in 2010. All 2010 data is provisional.
Statewide, 137 people have contracted Pertussis in 2010, which is down compared to 369 in 2009.